PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A long-defunct discount department store chain could be making a comeback next year, according to an online announcement, though details remain scarce.
A notice posted earlier this month on the old website of Ames Department Stores states the discount retailer will begin reopening stores in spring 2023.
The notice is at the same URL, amesstores.com, that the chain used before it shut down two decades ago.
12 News reached out to the press contact listed on the Ames website and received a response from a woman identifying herself as Shannon de Molyneux. She said she’s the president of Cross Moline Ventures, which she described as a U.S. subsidiary of a U.K.-based firm called the Molyneux Group.
A website for Molyneux Group lists the company as having a London address and also owning the rights to two other long-dormant brands, while Cross Moline Ventures appears to have no online presence.
While de Molyneux responded quickly to emails, she declined a request from 12 News for an interview, and no phone number was listed in her email signature.
“We’re currently dealing with a lot of requests from other networks … who want to do live interviews with me or my team,” she said. “I currently do not have any time in my schedule until after the New Year.”
Cross Moline Ventures is planning on opening seven Ames stores next year, according to de Molyneux. She said the first store will likely open in Connecticut, which is where the company was founded in 1958.
Ames will also open stores in New York and Pennsylvania next year, according to de Molyneux, who did not disclose the exact locations.
“I cannot divulge store locations as the company wishes to announce them through their own channels in February 2023,” she explained.
Ames filed for bankruptcy twice before shuttering all of its stores in fall 2002. At its peak, the discount retailer operated 700 stores across 20 states.
12 News reached out to the lawyers who represented Ames in its bankruptcy case but has not heard back.
Ames was headquartered for years in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Rocky Hill Town Manager Raymond Carpentino said he hadn’t heard about the Ames website’s announcement prior to being contacted by a reporter.
It doesn’t appear that Ames will return to Rocky Hill, with de Molyneux said her company is considering opening a two-story flagship store in Syracuse, New York.
When asked whether Ames would return to Rhode Island, de Molyneux said the Ocean State is included in the discount retailer’s expansion plan.
However, she said the first Rhode Island store won’t open until at least 2024.
“We will slowly start to expand through 2024 where demand is high,” de Molyneux said.
She suggested the new Ames stores will sell various consumer products as well as groceries, and a select number of stores will have cafés.
“Stores will have a similar feel to the originals, with drop ceilings instead of ‘warehouse style’ open ceilings, [as well as] carpet and tile throughout the stores instead of polished concrete,” de Molyneux said.
For the most part, de Molyneux said the Ames logo will stay the same, though small changes will be made to modernize the brand.
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